How should we write about bad literature like Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code?

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Answered by: Benjamin, An Expert in the Grammar and Composition - General Category
I just finished Dan Brown's controversial novel The Da Vinci Code. While most of Brown's detractors are cranky know-nothings prone to over generalizations, I was surprised when Salman Rushie said that Dan Brown was not only the worst author of all time but also the only one who deserved to be persecuted for his work. As much as I respect Rushdie, I cannot agree with him: the collected speeches of Alan Greenspan are much worse.

Yet critics like Rushdie must be taken seriously. So in all seriousness, I want to defend The Da Vinci Code as a sublime meditation on the human condition.

Of course, as a historian of art, I can confirm the existence of every piece of art which Dan Brown mentions -- even the ones he makes up. And as a renowned art critic, I can testify that Dan Brown's interpretations are widely accepted by art critics and religious historians -- especially the ones he makes up. What I find most peculiar, however, is that none of the scholarly articles inspired by Dan Brown mention the book's most important truth: the date of publication.


What's so important about that, you ask? Let me show you something I learned in my mathology class.

2002 is a numeric palindrome and, when divided down the center, yields the numbers 20 and 2. As Roman numerals -- XX and II -- each forms another numeric palindrome. When the letters X and X are written close to each other, they form a V and an inverted V. For Dan Brown, this clearly symbolizes male and female. (While studying art in Spanish museums, Dan Brown was administered ink blot tests by a rigorously trained test facilitator and, not surprisingly, aced the tests each time.) Being superimposed on the each other, these two letters indicate the union of the two: thus, since V is the Roman numeral for 5, their union yields 10.

Similarly, further reflection on the two I’s reveals that, since two eyes are found in a face, the word "face" is hidden in the publication date. Moreover, the word "face" contains another common Roman numeral, namely C or 100. This hidden fact tells us we should place the 10 and the 2 from the last paragraph next to each other, forming the number 102. (Let's look to Langdon. Oh, he’s giving us a reassuring smile! Let's continue.)

Furthermore, if we consider the significance of the V in relation to the II, we can, by finding the two numbers on either side of five, come up with the series 4-5-6. Now in any series the most important number is the first, in this case 4, since that number begins the series. Moreover, by referring back to the hidden word "face" and noticing that the important letter in that context comes third, we can place the most important number in the series 4-5-6 in the third position, yielding the number 564.

564 when added to 102 yields 666.

Only this can explain why in over 400 pages there isn’t a single passage of beautiful prose.

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